WYD’s Warm Welcome to American Pilgrims

(photo: Register Files)

The Polish of city of Krakow exploded with youthful enthusiasm. Everywhere one looked, one saw young people from around the world in color-coordinated outfits or regional attire, happily waving their national flags and chanting.

Despite speaking different languages, singing different songs and having traveled from different sides of the world, what united them? Love for the Lord.

They also love Pope Francis.

“We love Pope Francis!” exclaimed a group of Americans I happened upon as they traveled church to church, wrapping up in Krakow a spiritual journey they had been making throughout Poland for World Youth Day.

Another thing is for certain: Pope St. John Paul II overlooks this city and his homeland. 

His face is seen all over the city: on the buildings, in the statues and, for World Youth Day, on the young people’s t-shirts and hats.

For those interested in the culinary highlights, special for the young people was “Pope’s Cream Pie,” available in the food tents at a very affordable price.

The elegance, horse-drawn carriages and castle give the city a fairy-tale vibe, but it’s warm and welcoming at the same time, giving a certain sense of intimacy as pilgrims gathered in the main square.

Throughout the city, there were stages where testimonies, musical performances and prayer brought everyone together.

Deborah Castellano Lubov

is a Vatican correspondent

based in Rome but

reported from Krakow for World Youth Day.